When I did a poll over on Insta Stories to see whether I should make a honey mustard or a ranch trail mix, honey mustard ended up winning. But it won by just the narrowest of margins. So I felt like I really needed to make a ranch version as well.
Ranch flavors turned out to be challenging to make paleo, because without the buttermilk powder, it didn’t taste as ‘ranchy’. Not a very technical term, but I guess I was surprised by how critical buttermilk powder seemed to be. But in the end I was able to amp up the rest of the flavors to make a paleo ranch I was still excited about/ proud of.
Having made lots of batches of both flavors, you would think I’d have a favorite by now. But I really don’t, they’re both good, and I like to make both flavors so I can go back and forth.
It ended up being great that I needed to make 2 flavors because I love variety, and everyone gets the flavor they voted for. And speaking of recipe voting, please always feel free to make requests, and let me know what you’d like to see here on the blog.
First up you mix together all the spices called for. The first few batches I did, I added dried chives since they’re pretty standard in ranch mixes. But since I figured dried chives might not be a staple spice, I tried it without them, and here’s the thing… I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. So I left them as an option in the recipe just in case you want to be extra authentic.
Then to make sure the spices stick to the trail mix, I added just a touch of avocado oil and maple syrup. A little bit of sweetness really makes all the flavors stand out as well.
Finally you mix it all together until everything is evenly coated.
The baking time is long because it’s important to cook this trail mix low and slow.
By cooking it slowly, everything turns out perfectly crispy, and the ranch flavor is way more intense at a low temperature.
And finally after the baking time is done, I always leave my snack mix in the oven with the heat turned off for a final crisping. Once the trail mix is completely cooled, I like to store mine in mason jars on the counter. So far it’s never lasted past 3 weeks, but I’m sure you could keep it longer in a sealed container in the freezer.
While I have yet to take this trail mix hiking, it’s been so convenient having it around. I’ve been packing it into mini mason jars each week as part of my meal prepping. That way I have individual portions all ready to grab-and-go!Print
1 cup whole raw cashews, 4.5 ounces
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 2.5 ounces
1 cup raw pecan halves, 4 ounces
1 cup salted plantain chips, 2 ounces
1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon granulated dried onion
2 Teaspoons dried garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried dill
1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Teaspoon dried chives, optional
1 Tablespoon avocado oil
2 Tablespoons maple syrup, I used Grade A amber
Preheat the oven to 250ºF, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the cashews, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and plantain chips on the baking sheet.
In a small bowl, mix together all the spices.
Pour the spices over the nut/seed mixture along with the avocado oil and maple syrup.
Toss to completely combine and evenly distribute the spices.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring three times throughout the cooking process. When the cooking time is finished, turn the oven off, open the door and stir the trail mix one more time. Close the oven door, and let the trail mix cool with the oven for 30 minutes. This helps it to remain ultra crispy.
Then cool the trail mix to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container.
The dried chives are optional, if they’re not in your spice pantry, don’t worry about it.